SEOUL: South Korea's economy shrank in October-December for the first time since the second quarter of 2020, as exports tumbled while consumer spending dipped in reaction to rising interest rates, the country's central bank said Thursday.
Gross domestic product in the final period of last year contracted 0.4 percent from the previous quarter, the Bank of Korea said, reports AFP.
The figures could provide monetary policymakers room to slow their pace of hikes, as central banks around the world look to tone down their tightening moves as the effects of last year's moves kick in.
Still, consumer inflation, which hit five percent in December, continues to be a major concern for the BoK.
"Private consumption fell 0.4 percent due to a decrease in consumption of goods and services, (including) home appliances, clothing, accommodation, food and entertainment," the central bank said in a statement.
"Exports decreased by 5.8 percent mainly in semiconductors and chemicals," it added.
Imports fell 4.6 percent in the quarter owing to decreased imports of basic metals and crude oil, according to the bank.
For 2023, the central bank has estimated that the country's economy will grow around 1.7 percent, and inflation will be around 3.6 percent.